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  • Writer's pictureMaree

June Wrap Up

June was a prosperous reading month, despite having a slump in the middle which felt longer than it actually did. I’m trying to have a new system of having 3 books on the go- fiction, non-fiction and a reread. It seems to be working so far. Here’s what I read this month…

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

“I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.”

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed is an account of her journey solo hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail which runs vertically up the Western states in the US. I’ve wanted to read the book since the movie came out, although I was still yet to watch it. I am glad I read the book first as “the book was better”(even though Reese Witherspoon was a killer Cheryl). The journey between present and past (or distant past and recent past) flowed more in the book. I enjoyed coming to know the characters in a deeper way through reading the book. Strayed’s journey is one of working through her painful past, including her mother’s sudden death. It’s a time of self-discovery and healing. Comments I’ve had from fellow book lovers suggest that her journey is more relatable than that of other authors on similar paths, such as Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. I do agree although I have enjoyed both books for different reasons.

4 Stars

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

“Because men believe it’s their right to tell women how to live. They tell us who to marry, what to wear, when to go out and when to stay. Some men beat their wives, and no one speaks a word about it. But despite all the power they hold over us, they feel powerless against our kind. We resist. We cause things to happen. We interfere with their plans, with what they think is the natural order. That frightens them. Men hate being afraid, so they hate us instead.”

A Secret History of Witches is the tale of five generations of Romani women beginning in 1821 and finishing during the 1940s. I’m going to review this one, so won’t spend too much time on it. I enjoy stories such as this one, which covers a broad range of time. I loved the sense of mother/daughter relationships and the passing down of knowledge through the generations. The magic used wasn’t complicated (although not always used for good). There was a significant sense of persecution throughout the ages and the reasons for it- namely patriarchal societies suppressing women’s power, and being afraid of outsiders or things that are “different”. One I’ll definitely reread.

4.5 Stars

Defy the Fates by Claudia Gray

“(About having weird dreams when passing through gates between worlds)"Able has heard them complain about this before. Zayan once dreamed he had become a lasagna--to be specific, a lasagna with opinions about politics, frustrated about its inability to share these thoughts with a galaxy not yet ready to listen to pasta.”

Defy the Fates is the third book in the Constellation (Defy the Stars) series. It is a sci-fi which involves androids, planets inhabited by people from Earth (plus Earth), a virus, a war and a love story between Noemi, a soldier and Abel, an android. I won’t say any more as to avoid spoilers for the series, but there have been many twists and great battles throughout all of the books. Abel and Noemi are characters which I have come to love, and I was excited to finally read the conclusion. Both characters go through many unpredictable changes, lose friends, lose their identities, but find…well, I won’t spoil it.

4 Stars

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

“You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

Throne of Glass is one of my favourite series. This one was a reread, but a new read of my miniature editions (they are so cute!).

Celaena Sardothien is dragged from the salt mines of Endovier where she was imprisoned and has spent the last year. She is to take part in a competition under the watch of the Crown Prince, to win her place as the royal assassin. She begins training and trials at the glass castle, finding friendship in Chaol, the captain of the guard; Nehemia, a princess from a land ravaged by the king’s armies and Dorian, the crown prince. But the other competitors begin to be found dead in the castle hallways, torn apart by a creature. What Celaena finds will unravel a destiny beyond her imagination.

One of the things I love most about this series is that the world begins small and simple and is massive by the last books. Not just the world, but the stakes, the armies and everything within is epic. I love the depth and detail of her realms and characters. Maas is well known for her strong female leads. Check out any of her series if you dare to be punished in so many ways!

5 Stars

The Lost of the Loch Ard by Carlyn & Ron Sproston

My Dad gave me The Lost of the Loch Ard: The Passengers and Crew and Those They Left Behind to read as I love history, including local history. I live not too far from The Shipwreck Coast and The Great Ocean Road in Australia. The ship, the Loch Ard was lost off the Victorian coast in 1878. Only two people survived- a passenger, Eva and a crew member, Tom. They took refuge at a nearby homestead (where an ancestor of mine worked) and became internationally renowned.

This book provides the biographies of all of those on board in detail (both passengers and crew) as well as the lives of their families. It was well researched and a goldmine for genealogists, historians, locals and for the families involved.

4.5 Stars (just because additional pictures of the Loch Ard and items relating to her would be great!)

#HigherSelfie by Lucy Sheridan & Jo Westwood

#HigherSelfie: Wake Up Your Life. Free Your Soul. Find Your Tribe is about spirituality in the digital age. This book is worthwhile for young and new adults, with a focus on social media, life paths and relationships with others.

“A no-nonsense approach and full of with and humor, this book shares age-old concepts in a language that is accessible to the modern spiritual audience. Whether you have just bought a yoga mat or have been meditating for years, this book will offer you guidance and support, whatever stage of the journey you’re at.”

This book was a great reminder of what it takes to shine light in our world, plus some great tips for living authentically and navigating social media.

4 Stars

Grounded by Diana Butler Bass

Grounded: Finding God in the World. A Spiritual Revolution is about just that- finding God in nature and humanity. In a world that is returning to a love of nature and the environment, many of us seek to find our own spirituality here on Earth, on a horizontal rather than a vertical plane. Diana Butler Bass gives examples from many religions and beliefs, plus her own experiences about how “conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world”. This was a book that I really needed to read right now, as I’ve been sensing this shift in my own life.

4.5 Stars

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

This book has been on my list to read for a long time, as with other Amanda Lovelace poetry books. This was a quick read which was well formatted, and I enjoyed the sense of female empowerment. It was divided into four sections relating to the author’s life: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you.

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

3.5 Stars


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